Mexico’s demand for ultraviolet light stabilizers is increasing thanks largely to a growing demand from the wood coatings industry, as well as from other industry uses. “The UV market in Mexico has been rising steadily for the past eight years,” said Iván Pelayo, the manager of the industrial division of Valresa México S.A. de C.V., in Tlaquepaque, in Jalisco state, one of the top 10 paint manufacturers in the county. Jalisco state hosts the largest national association for wood furniture manufacturers in Mexico, the Asociacion de Fabricantes de Muebles de Jalisco.
A recent study by Transparency Market Research, based in Albany, New York, indicates that, “Mexico is...expected to be the fastest growing market for UV light stabilizers in the (North America) region and it is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.6 percent from 2012 to 2018.”
Presently, Mexico is relatively an underdeveloped market for wood coatings, the Transparency Market study indicates. Mexico is one of the top five exporters of furniture to the U.S., though it is losing market share to China; the U.S. market absorbs about 90 percent of Mexican furniture exports, according to a 2009 study by Lidia Martínez Murillo, then a PHD candidate at Leipzig University. Overall, Mexico exports 42 percent of its furniture, for revenues of approximately $6 billion, with wood products representing approximately 70 percent of all furniture produced, according to a 2009 study by Malaysia’s Mexico City trade office. Malaysia supplies furniture to the Mexican market.
Major players in Mexico’s wood coatings market include Comex, recently acquired by Sherwin-Williams. Comex and Brazil-based Renner Sayerlack formed a joint venture in 2009 in Mexico City to serve the Mexican furniture coatings industry, then estimated at $170 million. Renner Sayerlack claims to be “the largest and most specialized wood coatings company in Latin America.”
Sherwin-Williams is now the largest paint company in Mexico, including Comex’ 3,000-plus points of sale across the country. Such broad domestic distribution is key to serving the Mexican furniture industry, which includes some 1,100 manufacturers, mostly small businesses. The Malaysian study suggests that close to 500 of these manufacturers are located along the U.S.-Mexico border in the so-called Maquiladora belt. Among its UV wood coatings products, Sherwin Williams’ DeckScapes Advanced Waterborne Transparent Stain claims to offer “three-way UV protection for wood by absorbing, blocking and stabilizing the wood fibers.”
Among other multinationals serving the Mexican market is BASF, which produces UV stabilizers at McIntosh, Alabama, a source point for Mexican consumption as well as other global points, said Beth Earnst, a company spokesperson in Charlotte. BASF’s main product families produced at McIntosh are Tinuvins and hindered amine light stabilizers, or HALS, used in wood finishes and automotive applications. The company introduced its Tinuvin 5333-DW at the European Coatings Show; the product was hailed as the first water-compatible blend of high performance UV-absorber and non-interacting HALS specifically developed for water-based coatings.
Other smaller players in the Mexico UV wood coatings market utilize outside sales representatives or corporate sales teams. Ukiah, California-based Penofin, for example, markets its UV wood sealers in Mexico through two outside dealers. And Valspar Aries Coatings, which operates a coil coatings manufacturing facility in Monterrey, as well as a color and design center, produces UV stabilizers primarily in Asian now.